Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Girl Who Played With Fire

When I finished Stieg Larsson's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo in August, I wanted to run right out and get its sequel The Girl Who Played With Fire, but I decided that I should wait a little while and read some other things first. I hate when books in a series start to blur together, and I wanted to keep these separate. I was able to dive right back in to the underworld of Swedish crime, since Larsson picks right back up where he left off.

The Girl Who Played With Fire revisits the main characters from the first book — Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist, Lisbeth Salander, a computer hacker, Blomkvist's colleagues at Millennium magazine, and Salander's former boss at a security company. Here, Millennium is working with a couple who are writing an exposé about sex trafficking in Sweden, and when they wind up dead, Salander's fingerprints are on the gun. When Salander's former guardian also ends up dead, there's a country-wide manhunt for her.

Larsson once again is an intricate plotter and master of suspense — he takes us into seedy worlds with kidnappings and has Salander and Blomkvist communicate via his hacked computer. And the books are high tech without being confusing for those of us who don't understand hacking.

I didn't think this book was quite as good as Dragon Tattoo, but that's partly because these were already characters we were familiar with, and we weren't introduced to any great new characters. But it's satisfying that Larsson picks up right where he left off and gives Salander and Blomkvist another rousing adventure.

I'm sure I'll read The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, though I'm not going to run out and get it when it is published in the U.S. I want to give myself another little break, since these books are so satisfying they should be read sparingly.

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